A casino is an establishment that houses and accommodates a variety of gambling activities. These activities include games of chance and skill, as well as other entertainment such as stage shows, and restaurants. Casinos are usually located near or combined with hotels, resorts, retail shopping, and cruise ships.
Successful casinos generate billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors, and Native American tribes that own them, as well as for employees and local businesses such as restaurants and transportation services. State and local governments also reap significant revenue from taxing casino profits. In the United States, there are about 50 commercial casinos in operation, with Las Vegas having the highest concentration. In addition, there are a number of privately owned, non-profitable casinos and Native American gaming facilities.
Casinos earn their income by charging a fee, known as the vig or rake, on each bet placed by patrons at table games and video poker machines. This vig is a small percentage of the total amount wagered, but it adds up over time to significant annual revenues. High-stakes gamblers are often offered extravagant inducements, including free spectacular entertainment and luxury living quarters.
Something about casinos encourages people to try to cheat, steal and scam their way into a jackpot, which is why the industry spends a lot of money on security measures. These include specialized cameras and sophisticated electronic monitoring systems that allow casinos to oversee betting patterns minute-by-minute, detect anomalies, and quickly warn dealers of a misunderstanding or a potential scam.